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Archive for March, 2009

Logo-ing it out!

Well, after the Bosworth Conservative Future bloggers got themselve into a bit of a pickle by putting out a Tory logo creator that went awfully wrong, some examples of it here, and then quickly pulling it, the Go Fourth bunch have decided to allow us to keep up having some fun for a while longer with their own logo generator.

Go on, give it a go, you know you want to.

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Bus wars

When the so called atheist bus took the streets a few months ago many people felt that the word ‘probably’ was redundant.

In their website the campaigners explained that the Committee of Advertising Practice advised the campaign that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code”.

Now, this would be fine if wasn’t because the new ‘Christian’ buses that are popping out all  over London these days seem to not be following the same prerequisite. In fact some of these ‘Christian’ buses are calling atheists fools and claims in others cannot actually been proven.

And so I ask myself, why does the Advertisement Standards Agency have such a double standard in this case?

christian-bendybus
fools-bus1

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Over the past few years there have been a number of initiatives on institutional transparency – FOI legislation, expenses reporting – that together with greater administrative decentralisation have helped increase accountability in the political system.

Having said this, sleaze is making a comeback which means that we need to up our game once more to continue to enforce honesty in our political system. And with the arrival of web 2.0 we are better equipped than ever to do so.

This week I have come across a fantastic initiative from Sunlight Labs, an American organisation for the advancement of institutional transparency. It’s called LittleSis, an online application that combines facebook-like functionality with Wikipedia-like user editing.

Using LittleSis, any user can edit information in the site and profile those in power. The site focuses on 3 main factors about an individual:  Relationships (which includes Business/Government positions, other memberships, education and donation/grant recipients), Interlocks (people in common organisations), Giving (who they’ve donated to, as well as other individuals that have given to the same recipients) and the basic personal information.

The intiative has a number of challenges ahead of itself obviously, principally anyone could spread a false rumour about a public figure or organisation, but certainly it has a lot of potential to bring public accountablity to the forefront of British politics once and for all.

Web 2.0 has given us greater interaction between our politicians and the people, now applications like LittleSis could provide for a second key requirement for regenerating political life, transparency and accountability.

Hat-tip: Wikinomics

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